In the rural village of Greene, R.I., residents have been fighting what seems like endless political town battles in opposition to Green Energy projects. We were targeted by developers and many of our town politicians to become the first residential wind and solar city of Rhode Island. Ten wind turbines have already cost the residents acres of forested space, and two major solar energy projects may be imminent – resulting in more destruction of our surrounding woodlands.
Since installation of the wind towers into our residential areas, many of our neighbors’ quality of life has been diminished by steady red flashing lights from the turbines, and the background hum/vibration with shadow flicker of rotating turbine blades. Additionally, we must endure the same question from others who don’t understand – why are we against Green Energy? We wanted to take this opportunity to share our point of view, and hopefully raise awareness.
Our District (1) in Western Coventry is the largest, most rural section of the five districts of Coventry. The appeal of the town is that each district offers its own character and style of living. Coventry has it all – providing great choice and diversity from commercial/industrial business locations, to suburban close-knit neighborhoods, to scenic, rural historic farmland areas.
Those living in Greene are here by choice. We are a neighborhood of generations! Many of us were raised here, come from generations who were raised here, and continue to make our homes here. Others have moved here because of cultural and lifestyle choice – fulfilling their dreams. Regardless of our origins as residents, we have the same common thread that runs between us. We are the well-water, septic system, woodland, nature and wildlife lovers who appreciate our own little section of green serenity and peace. Likewise, we are passionate about protecting our surrounding environment. Our passion and respect for our chosen places of residence aligns with our long-standing and still current Comprehensive Plan “to preserve and protect environmentally sensitive land.” Regrettably, many of our town officials are working to revoke our current plan for more renewable Green Energy projects.
We do avidly advocate for “Greene”, but not “Green Energy.” We are, instead, promoters of renewable “Clean Energy,” and there is a DISTINCT difference! Green Energy is a deceptive terminology used by developers who buy land and deforest acres of trees to install large wind turbines and solar plants, and sell them under the cunning jargon of wind and solar “farms,” as if that justifies installing these monstrosities into rural communities. Clean Energy does not involve destruction of lush woodlands. Wind turbines and solar arrays are installed on unused commercial/industrial space, landfills, brownfields and business rooftops, without posing unknown risks to humans or wildlife by installing these structures in residential areas, and destroying forestland.
Forests are vital for life! They protect human and wildlife health by moderating temperatures, providing shade, providing homes to millions of species, protecting soil from erosion, reducing noise pollution, improving water quality, providing food and sustainable building materials, producing oxygen, and storing carbon dioxide, helping to control climate change, and as if this wasn’t enough, trees just simply provide us with tranquil beauty.
We should all be asking ourselves the bigger question: “Am I for Green Energy or Clean Energy ?” before buying into irreversible, environmentally-damaging, renewable energy. Buyer beware – don’t be duped by Green Energy. It means exactly what it says – all about the green-money deals for developers! Isn’t the point of renewable energy to decrease our carbon footprint and help sustain the environment, not to add to it by destroying the single largest natural eliminator of CO2 – the trees, and adversely offsetting the balance of our planet’s ecosystem? This goes far beyond generating revenue or meeting renewable energy mandates. If renewable energy decisions continue to be left to each town, Rhode Island may just become one big parking lot!
Fielder, Hankins and Rendine are members of The Committee to Keep Greene Pristine.
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